Thursday, May 25, 2006

Alone In The Grove - Part 3

When we last left our heroine:

Quite suddenly the sobbing stopped and the woman’s head slowly lifted, staring off into the darkness for a long moment before slowly and deliberately turning to look at Chris, catching the woman’s eyes with her own colorless, milky white orbs. “Chrisssss…”

“Oh I so did not hear that.” Chris said and shook her head. “Nope…” She shut her eyes tightly and let one hand slide into her bag, searching for her cell phone. It was just a figment of her imagination, it couldn’t hurt her, couldn’t even really see her. Just her overtired mind, reacting to the fact that she was sitting inside a cemetery. That was all, simple explanation really.


Her eyes snapped open and she let out a shrill scream. The woman’s face was hovering just inches in front of her own, looking at her, seeing inside of her and gazing through her all at the same time. Chris screamed again as the woman’s hand lifted towards her.

Abandoning her search for her phone and forgetting completely about the injured ankle, she scrambled to her feet and ran. Something in her ankle popped and the pain abruptly vanished. Just dislocated, just popped out of place. She could have fixed it herself, could have been out of there long before dark.

Away from her little fire it was black as pitch. Sprinting through the trees, she collided with them, feeling the bark tear at her skin. She didn’t dare turn and look behind her to see if the thing was following her.

The wind was knocked out of her when she ran, full speed, into a chain link fence. She grabbed it and shook it hard, as if it would fall down at her touch. “No! Let me out of here!” She squinted into the darkness along the fence off to her right, but she didn’t see an exit. Turning to her left, another scream tore itself free from her throat when she came face to face with the woman again. Her legs worked without her conscious command, carrying her away from the ghost as fast as possible, one hand running along the fence to guide the way.

The fence ended suddenly and she sprinted through the gap, letting out another scream. No ghost or apparition caused it this time, the ground sloped dramatically and she fell, tumbling head over heels, over and over until she slid to a stop at the base of the hill. Panting hard and aching all over, Chris shut her eyes and blissfully slipped into unconsciousness.

“Miss? Miss are you all right?”

Chris opened her eyes and shifted slightly. Bright sunlight was streaming through the trees and distantly she could hear the hum of traffic. A man was standing over her, a park ranger from the looks of his uniform.

She pushed herself up onto her elbows and looked around. Her clothes were shredded where the trees had torn through, but her arms had no bruises from the collisions in the darkness, no scrapes from the bark. Even her ankle seemed entirely healed. She rose to her feet and stared at the man for a moment. “How long was I asleep?” She asked after a moment.

He frowned slightly. “Well, it’s Friday.”

“One night…” She murmured, looking down at the torn fabric and the smooth skin peeking out. “My bike, my bag… it’s in the cemetery. I crashed and…”

“Wait, you were in the cemetery last night?” He asked in an alarmed voice. “Were you hurt, were you attacked?”

Chris looked at the man with a deep frown. “What do you mean?”

He sighed heavily. “Two nights ago the body of a young woman was found in the cemetery. She’d been abducted from her house and murdered. Last night police, answering a 911 call for help, found the killer there. Apparently he’d been hiding out in a dug out grave.”

“That was my call…” She whispered softly, covering her mouth. “I crashed my bike and called for help, but they said it would be hours until someone could come. If…” She shook her head hard, trying to rid herself of the ‘what-ifs’ that were buzzing around her head. “My bike and my stuff are still in there, can I go get them?”

He nodded. “Sure, the police are done with the investigation. Are you sure you’re ok? Do you need an ambulance?”

After assuring him that she was fine, they hiked back up the hill and into the cemetery. Police had roped off sections with yellow warning tape, to keep out the curious.

Chris walked over to where her bike was sitting and her stomach did several back flips. Where she’d been sitting was roped off. The ground in front of the headstone where she’d spent hours knitting and waiting was opened up like a door, a dark pit underneath. She’d been sitting over the killer without realizing it. If she hadn’t gotten scared, hadn’t run away…

“I’ll push your bike if you grab your bag.” The man said, making her jump slightly.

She nodded and gathered up her things, frowning as she picked up her knitting needles. She’d finished the socks the night before, but they were no where to be seen. Shoving everything back into the bag, she nodded to the man and followed him out.

At the gate she paused and turned to look back into the cemetery. It looked so pretty in the bright, dappled sunlight. As she watched a woman walked out from behind a tree, the same woman that had so terrified her. But it wasn’t the white, ghostly figure from the night before; instead she was a solid, flesh and blood person. No longer searching for the hiding place of her killer, she strolled between the headstones, smiling each time the sun hit her face.

Chris watched her for a long while, smiling softly. Their eyes met only briefly and she was certain she heard a soft “Thank you,” carried over on the wind.

“Thank you.” She whispered in return, watching as she turned and walked away, fading away into the bright sunlight. The last thing that faded from view was the woman’s legs, a pair of handknit socks sticking out above her shoes.


Blogger Chris said...

Whew!! :) Completely unexpected (but good!) ending.

12:00 PM  

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